The new-look Calgary Flames are brimming with confidence as they start a three-game road trip.
Calgary (28-21-8) made two major trades several days ago, acquiring forwards Matt Stajan(notes), Niklas Hagman(notes) and Jamal Mayers(notes) and defenseman Ian White(notes) from Toronto on Sunday. After a 3-0 loss to Philadelphia the next night, the Flames traded former Panther Olli Jokinen(notes) and Brandon Prust(notes) to the Rangers for forwards Ales Kotalik(notes) and Christopher Higgins(notes).
“I thought they did a good job,” coach Brent Sutter said. “I thought that Daymond handled it well playing with two new guys.”
While that unit didn’t produce any goals, Stajan became the first newcomer to score for Calgary. He had 16 goals with Toronto to rank third on the club.
“It’s a weight off my shoulders getting that first one,” said Stajan, who played his second game with the Flames. “Just like the start of the season, you want to get that first one out of the way. More importantly we played a good team game.”
“It’s something I’ll never forget,” Glencross said. “It’s nice to get that feeling again.”
Calgary improved to 7-2-1 against Eastern Conference teams and 2-0-0 against Southeast Division opponents. The Flames won three of their last four against the Panthers, losing 3-2 in a shootout in the last meeting Dec. 12, 2008.
This will be Bouwmeester’s first game against Florida, where he spent his first six seasons after the Panthers selected him with the third overall pick in the 2002 draft. Bouwmeester, who was traded to Calgary on June 27 for Jordan Leopold(notes) and a draft pick, has two goals and 19 assists in 57 games with the Flames.
“It was tough to see him (Bouwmeester) go because he was a good teammate and one of my good buddies, but that’s part of the business,” Florida’s Stephen Weiss(notes) told the Panthers’ official Web site. “We’ll still be buddies even though we’re not on the same team anymore.”
While Calgary is battling for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference, Florida (24-23-9) is in a similar position in the East. The Panthers, who haven’t been to the postseason since 2000, have gone 6-3-1 in their last 10.
“We know we’re going to have to be close to 10 games above .500 to have a chance to get in the playoffs or be right around that area,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “Right now, we’re one, so we’ve got some work to do.”
The Panthers have had three days off heading into another set of back-to-back games, with a visit to Atlanta on tap Saturday. Florida split two games in a back-to-back set earlier this week, beating the Islanders 2-0 on Sunday and falling 3-0 to Anaheim on Monday.
The Panthers came up empty on 33 shots against the Ducks, and DeBoer felt that fatigue was a factor.
“We had ourselves down for quite a few scoring chances against Anaheim,” DeBoer said. “I think where we’re dropping the ball isn’t creating scoring chances. It’s burying the chance or finding the second or third opportunity.”
Stajan and Hagman combined for three goals and two assists against the Panthers in three games with the Maple Leafs this season.